Despite conceding the early advantage, it was a resilient No. 2 Princeton
team that came out top, 5-2, versus No. 7 Virginia in the NCAA Field Hockey
Quarterfinals Sunday in Charlottesville, Va. The Tigers (18-1) head to the Final Four for the sixth time in program history.
Princeton will face No. 6 Maryland, the second meeting
between both teams in 2012. The Tigers defeated the Terps, 3-2, on Oct. 2 at
Bedford Field during the regular season. The last time the two programs faced
each other in the semifinals was in 2009, with Maryland coming out on top 7-5.
The Final Four will be hosted at Old Dominion in Norfolk, Va., with the
semifinals on Friday, Nov. 16 and the championship game on Sunday, Nov. 18.
Game times have yet to be announced.
It was not the start the Tigers were expecting, as Virginia
got on the board in the second minute of play. UVA was awarded a penalty corner
on its first offensive drive, but Tiger goalie Christina Maida was there to
stop the initial shot off the corner. Princeton was unable to clear the ball
out of the circle and UVA's Rachel Sumfest capitalized on the rebound to give
the Cavaliers a 1-0 lead at 1:09.
The wind was not sucked out of the Tigers' sails, as a
composed Princeton side responded on its ensuing drive. Teresa Benvenuti dished
the ball from the top left side of the circle to an open Sydney Kirby. Kirby
then chipped it in over Virginia's goalie Jenny Johnstone to tie the match,
1-1, at 3:39.
The Tigers were unable to capitalize on their momentum and
put together another scoring drive before Virginia retook the lead, 2-1, off
another penalty corner at 4:54.
Despite being in a very foreign position, as the
second-ranked Tigers had not given up a multi-goal game since the Maryland game
earlier this year. Princeton remained aggressive and put together several runs
into the Virginia circle.
At 9:07, Julia Reinprecht fed in a penalty corner, but the
Tigers were unable to find an immediate open shot and the ball moved around the
circle. Six second later, Benvenuti received it on the left side and again found
an open Kirby near the top of the circle. Kirby had an open line to the cage
and tied it up 2-2.
Nearing the midpoint of the half, Princeton managed to take
control of the game for the first time. On the left side, Amanda Bird connected with Katie Reinprecht in front of the UVA cage. Bird, yesterday's game-winning goal
scorer, helped provide Princeton with a 3-2 advantage at
16:11 with the game-winning assist.
With less than eight to play in the first period, a loose
ball moved into the Tiger circle. A quick thinking Maida sprinted out of the
cage and kicked it out of the circle before a UVA attacker could try to punch
in the tying goal. Virginia would be awarded a penalty corner, but a flawless
defensive line by Princeton preserved its one-goal differential heading into
Maida finished the game with four saves.
The Tigers wasted little time adding to their point cushion
after halftime, with the team's leading scorer Kathleen Sharkey notching both.
At 38:23 on a Princeton penalty corner, J. Reinprecht served
the ball in to older sister K. Reinprecht. With a perfect stick stop, Sharkey
slammed in the ball from the top of the circle to provide the Tigers with a 4-2
With a hot hand, Sharkey then added a second goal, improving
Princeton's lead to 5-2 at 41:55. K. Reinprecht found an open Sharkey, who beat
a Virginia defender and sent in a reverse chip from the center of the circle.
The goal marked her 10th multi-goal game this season.
From that point forward Maida and the backline held off a fighting
UVA side, repeatedly denying the Cavalier attackers from successfully making a
Princeton held differentials in shots (25-12), shots on goal
(19-6) and penalty corners (11-6) in the match.